Alcoa Foundation helps Kim discover the value of work

Kim Proctor on site at her internship with Northern Futures.

Kim Proctor now realises the value of having a job.

The 19 year old Indigenous woman has completed an Alcoa Foundation Global Internship for Unemployed Youth at North Geelong’s Accredited Distributors. The six week paid internship was Kim’s first experience of paid employment and it has changed her life.

“I see now that you have to work to live. I look back and wonder how I stayed on the dole (unemployment benefits) for so long,” Kim reflects.

Kim left school in her early teens and, by her own admission, has “done nothing” since then. Living with her dad in Corio, in Geelong’s northern suburbs, she realised something needed to change and was encouraged by her Job Services Australia provider APM to enroll in a warehousing course at Northern Futures in early 2017.

Kim was a star student and completed the course without missing a day, quite an accomplishment given she hadn’t enjoyed secondary school. Attending the Alcoa Foundation Careers Fair in June 2017 Kim was interviewed by Accredited Distributors, a Northern Futures industry partner she had visited with her class during the warehousing course. From that interview she secured an internship with immediate start.

Accredited Distributors, a wholesale distributor of confectionery, snack foods and beverages, stock more than 3,500 product lines from leading brands Mars, Smiths, Cadbury, Nestle and Red Bull, and the internship gave Kim a chance to learn about warehousing and logistics in all its complexity. But, it was an experience she is happy to have had.

“It’s been good,” says Kim. “My feet hurt at first, spending all day standing on concrete, but it is a good crew here and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Branch manager Steve Hare doesn’t have a permanent position for Kim at the moment but he has registered her for casual work and hopes a position will open up in the long term.

“Kim has settled in well and if she puts her head down and wants to work this job can be a good stepping stone for her,” Steve says.

Accredited Distributors is a valued industry partner for Northern Futures. The business has employed 11 Northern Futures participants over eight years, including five Alcoa Foundation interns.